Ford has got it all wrong with the new Bullitt Mustang. It's tried to create a modern version of the original but, as I've just finished restoring one of the 1967 cars, I think I'm in a good position to judge. The new car is nothing like a modern GT 390 - it's much better.
While my new-old 'Stang gets off the line sharpish and can run level with some quick cars in a straight line, show it a corner and, unless you're wide awake, it'll try to kill you. The new Bullitt fires off the line in original style but, in stark contrast to the '67 car, can also get through a series of corners without the need for a rosary and a change of underwear.
The other thing Ford has got wrong is the name of the car. Rather than naming its new steed after a frankly average film (with an admittedly excellent seven-minute car chase in the middle) surely it would have been better to call it the 'McQueen?' Steve's the reason the car's cool, not the movie.
Better still, don't call it anything at all. Let the understated spec do the talking for you. A fastback Mustang body, no logos, Highland Green paint, rowdy exhaust and Torq Thrust-style wheels combo will always equal a Bullitt spec. Telling people it's a special car with big badges is like explaining a joke - it ruins the effect.
But none of that matters right now. Here we are in San Francisco, 40 years to the day since the film debuted, with the keys to the new car and a couple of hours to play with it. Jumping, reverse burnouts and tyre-smoking turns are just a few miles away. We just need to pay a cab to take us on a refresher route of the chase - most of them will do it for $50 - and we're off.
Or are we? No, not yet. Before we can have a flying lap of San Fran, we first have to take a closer look at the car in detail. It's probably not a bad idea to do it now. If you look at the state of McQueen's 'Stang by the end of the chase it's in a very different spec from when it started.
First thing to note is that the body is a lot closer to the original car's proportions and styling than the Bullitt Mustang that appeared in 2001. The whole of the latest Mustang range is based more on the original Sixties shape than the last model, so that's perhaps to be expected. There are no spoilers or any other body extras, which is just as it should be. And there are no Mustang logos on the grille or anywhere else. Perfect.
The Highland Green paint is authentic, too, the dark metallic green only showing itself in direct sunlight then fading to near black at all other times. The Bullitt is also available in black, but that's just wrong. Ford should have done green only. A black Mustang is just a black Mustang. It has to be Highland Green to be a Bullitt.